Your Padres made a statement today.
Before noon eastern time, the Padres had locked up five of the top international prospects from around the globe for a total of nearly $5,000,000. Those commas are in the proper places.
Let's allow that to sink in for a second...
Feels good, doesn't it?
Today we completed the signings of highly coveted players Adis Portillo (RHP), Alvaro Aristy (SS), Luis Domoromo (OF), Corey Adamson (INF/OF), and Elvin Tavarez (RHP). ESPN has comments on each of the Latin American players, but I'll go ahead and offer my own as well.
Adis Portillo is a 16-year old RHP who stand 6'2" (for now). Ranked as the top amateur pitcher in Venezuela, and the 2nd best overall pitching prospect internationally, Portillo already throws his fastball in the low 90's with good command. Adis also has an advanced feel for both a curveball and a changeup, especially for someone with his age and size. Portillo is a premium pitching prospect and would have been a top ten pick in the amateur draft in the US.
Alvaro Aristy is a 16-year old SS who draws comparisons to a young Tony Fernandez. A slick fielder with a strong arm and vacuum-like hands, Aristy projects as a true shortstop. His superior hand-eye coordination also serves him well at the plate where he has the ability to consistently put the barrel on the ball. With the inevitable increase in size and strength, we believe his skills will play offensively as well as defensively. ESPN ranked Aristy as the #2 overall position player prospect in the Dominican. He is easily the best defensive middle infielder among the amateur ranks that I saw this year.
Luis Domoromo is a 16-year old OF from Venezuela who has an advanced approach at the plate. Luis has a strong arm and is a good athlete, so we expect him to be a solid corner outfielder, but his bat is what has the chance to be special. He can hit the ball to all fields and projects to have legitimate power. Luis was ranked as the #2 position player prospect in Venezuela.
Corey Adamson is a 16-year old infielder/outfielder from Perth, Australia. Known as a 5-tool athlete (runs a 6.6 60), Corey has already produced with those tools. In the National Championship Tournament in January, Corey hit .520 with a .618 obp and a 1.040 slugging percentage. Due to his athleticism, Corey was also projected as a top 10 selection in the Australian Rules Football draft, however he has chosen baseball. This choice wasn't terribly surprising given the fact that Corey's father, Tony, is in Australia's Baseball Hall of Fame.
Elvin Tavarez is another 6'2" 16 year old RHP, though unlike Portillo he is from the Dominican Republic. Tavarez's fastball already reaches 90 mph, and he shows the makings of a very good curveball. ESPN ranked him as the #4 pitching prospect in the Dominican this year.
Deep breath. This isn't April 1st, it's July 2nd.
Kidding aside, today is a monumental day for the Padres. A number of years ago, John Moores and Sandy Alderson had a vision for the Padres internationally. Their collective aggressiveness in this area has led to many things: hosting the inaugural World Baseball Classic, playing the first ever exhibition games in China, and building the Taj Mahal of baseball academies in the Dominican Republic. However, they knew that the vision would not be complete without high-caliber talent.
Somewhat under the radar, the Padres have ramped up their efforts (and their budget) internationally over the past couple of years under the guidance of Randy Smith. As a consequence, our lower minor league levels now host a large group of high quality prospects from Latin America. We just added to that group in a monumental way.